THE decision to resume grouse shooting on Ilkley Moor will be subject to a review after a Labour Party motion was voted through at City Hall.

Controversy has surrounded the decision to grant a ten-year lease to the Bingley Moor Partnership to organise shoots on the publicly owned land.

Last Saturday, anti-grouse shooting protesters turned up outside Ilkley Town Hall on Saturday while Councillor Anne Hawkesworth conducted her surgery with locals inside.

The surgery was not disrupted and the demonstrators went away after just over an hour. Using a megaphone to shout slogans, the five protesters also spoke to passers-by and handed out leaflets.

The group were members of the West Yorkshire Hunt Saboteurs and they want Bradford Council to reverse the decision to renew grouse shooting licences for the moors.

Group spokesman Luke Steele said that members were against the killing of all animals and accused the shooting industry of being cruel and barbaric. He maintains that the shooting is only carried out for the entertainment of those involved.

Mr Steele also said that instead of being passed on to restaurants for consumption by diners, many of the shot birds were simply buried.

Nr Steele said that the group had targeted Ilkley and Coun Hawkesworth because the decision to allow shooting on the moor had only been recently taken.

“We are here to ask her to stop shooting on the moor because we believe it is totally disgusting,” said protester Mike Hillingdon, from Manchester.

But Coun Hawkesworth was unimpressed by the protest, although she did leave the building, escorted by security staff, by the back door, on the advice of police to prevent the protesters from identifying her car.

“I thought it was pretty weak when they could only get five people there,” said Coun Hawkesworth.

She added: “The recent actions of some demonstrators from the West Yorkshire Hunt Saboteurs have been misleading and misguided. Allegations have been made by them that are totally untrue.”

She said that they had made false allegations of wrongdoing against officers involved in the countryside service.

Coun Hawkesworth defended the granting of a ten-year lease to shoot grouse on the moor. She said: “We have a ludicrous situation whereby we have a grouse moor with no grouse because it isn’t being managed for that purpose.

“The Bingley Moor Partnership won the tender in open competition because of the management of the moors they were able to offer. The lease is signed, sealed and delivered. This is a legally binding agreement.

“This new ten-year lease is enabling increased investment into the moor, therefore boosting the local rural economy.

“The land management that goes with grouse-shooting, such as heather burning and bracken control, drainage management and sheep farming, is one of the practices which ensures the moorland is maintained to the best possible standard.”

In a surprise development this week, Bradford Council has agreed to an immediate review of the resumption of grouse shooting.

A motion from the Labour group was voted through at Tuesday’s City Hall meeting, at the expense of Green Party and Conservative Party alternatives.